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Siri for iPhone Definition


Siri iphone

Siri icon

image copyright Apple Inc.

Siri - Siri is a voice-activated app that works with the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 to allow users to take action on their iPhone by speaking. Siri can understand not just basic commands, but also the colloquialisms that are common to human speech. Siri can both speak back to the user and take dictation--transcribing voice to text.

Siri was originally developed as a standalone iOS app by a company called Siri. Apple bought the company in April 2010 for an undisclosed amount of money (some have speculated that the purchase price could have been as high as US$200 million).

While Siri was iPhone 4S-only when it was introduced, iOS 6 in fall 2012 added support for the third-generation iPad.

Hardware Compatibility

App Compatibility
Siri only works with the built-in apps made by Apple that come with the iPhone. Siri is not currently compatible with most third-party apps. Among the apps that Siri interacts with are:

  • Address Book
  • Calendar
  • Clock
  • FaceTime
  • Find My Friends
  • Mail
  • Maps
  • Messages
  • Music
  • Notes
  • Phone
  • Stocks
  • Reminders
  • Weather

The dictation feature, however, does work with third-party apps (Apple has, to date, mentioned Facebook and Instagram as compatible apps).

Siri also has some features that aren't app-specific, such as the ability to provide sports scores, stats, and other information and voice-activated launching of apps.

Third-Party Service Integration
Siri integrates with a number of third-party services to provide deeper information. These services include:

  • Wolfram Alpha to find deep data and process more complex requests
  • Yelp to find restaurants and provide feedback on them from Yelp users
  • OpenTable, via Yelp integration, to let users make restaurant reservations
  • RottenTomatoes, for movie reviews and locations
  • Facebook and Twitter for social media

Eyes Free Support
As of iOS 6, Siri supports Apple's "Eyes Free" features, which allow the iPhone to integrate with cars to let users interact with the phone without looking at its screen (and thus without taking their eyes off the road). In cars that support Eyes Free, Siri can be activated via a button on the steering wheel. The iPhone's screen doesn't light up, but instead Siri is the primary means of using the iPhone to get directions, read and send email and texts, choose music, and more.

Language Support
Siri works in the following languages:

  • English (Australian, U.K., and U.S.) - iOS 5
  • French (France) - iOS 5
  • German - iOS 5
  • Japanese - iOS 5
  • English (Canada) - iOS 6
  • French (Canada) - iOS 6
  • Spanish (Mexico, Spain, U.S.) - iOS 6
  • Italian (Italy, Switzerland) - iOS 6
  • French (Switzerland) - iOS 6
  • German (Switzerland) - iOS 6
  • Korean - iOS 6
  • Mandarin - iOS 6
  • Cantonese - iOS 6

Example Uses
Some example uses of Siri include:

  • Tell the iPhone 4S to set an alarm, find a kind of restaurant or add an appointment to your calendar
  • Have Siri read text messages to the user and then take dictation for, and send, a response
  • Create a reminder to perform an action based on your geographic location
  • Dictate an email without touching the iPhone's keyboard.
  • Search the web by speaking the search term

Conversations with Siri
Want to find out what other people are asking Siri? Or have you had funny conversations of your own with Siri that you'd like to share? Check out our Conversations with Siri page.

Last updated: Oct. 25, 2012

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